Can You Have Two iCloud Music Libraries?

Several readers have asked if it’s possible to have two iCloud Music Libraries. The rationale is that they’d like one library for their Apple Music account, and another for their personal music. Many people don’t want to mix the two.

The answer is yes, sort of.

You may know that you can create more than one local iTunes library. To do this, launch iTunes and immediately press the Option key (OS X) or the Shift key (Windows). You’ll see a dialog like this:

New itunes library

To create a new library, click Create Library. To choose an existing library, click Choose Library.

However, if you use multiple libraries like this, they still use the same iCloud Music Library, the one linked to the Apple ID with which you are signed into the iTunes Store.

If you want to use a second iCloud Music Library, you need to create a new Apple ID for the other library, and, when you want to sign into the other library, make sure to quit iTunes, relaunch it, and choose the corresponding local library. Each local library will contain different music, and if you sign into the iTunes Store with the library that doesn’t correspond to the specific iCloud Music Library, iTunes will simply merge all the music.

If you have purchased music from the iTunes Store, then it’s only available with one of your Apple IDs. You’d need to download all that music and add it to the second library to ensure it’s available from both. (Remember, music purchased in recent years has no DRM, so you can add it to a library that uses another Apple ID.)

Remember that the Apple ID doesn’t just affect music; it affects anything you buy from the iTunes Store. So if you sync apps, download videos, or even have podcast subscriptions set up, juggling between two Apple IDs becomes even more problematic.

So, while it’s possible to use two iCloud Music Libraries, it’s a bit cumbersome. Unless you have a Very Good Reason to do so, I wouldn’t recommend it.

20 thoughts on “Can You Have Two iCloud Music Libraries?

  1. I have successfully used a variation of this for the past 5 months. I use one ID for Apple Music located on a secondary Mac login and my main Apple ID on my main Mac login (with iTunes Match). I was one of the unlucky people that had their music library scrambled by Apple Music, but still liked the concept of Apple Music. I think the combination of iTunes Match and Apple Music makes the potential for problems worse than if you just have Apple Music. I use my iPhone for on-the-go access to my main library and my iPod Touch for the Apple Music library.

    The good news: No more problems with my library, plus I can access both accounts on my Apple TV which is connected to my main sound system. I use my Apple Music ID with the Music app and my main ID to access my main library through Home Sharing. Very easy to switch back and forth.

    The bad news: I can’t use family sharing for apps, etc. with my main Apple ID (where I purchased all my apps), plus the complexity of having to use two mobile devices for complete mobile access. I seldom use Apple Music on the iPod Touch since I usually just have my iPhone (but is an option if I really want it).

    I’d say your conclusion is correct, but this works for me. I’m not sure if I’d ever trust combining iTunes Match and Apple Music on my library again.

  2. I have successfully used a variation of this for the past 5 months. I use one ID for Apple Music located on a secondary Mac login and my main Apple ID on my main Mac login (with iTunes Match). I was one of the unlucky people that had their music library scrambled by Apple Music, but still liked the concept of Apple Music. I think the combination of iTunes Match and Apple Music makes the potential for problems worse than if you just have Apple Music. I use my iPhone for on-the-go access to my main library and my iPod Touch for the Apple Music library.

    The good news: No more problems with my library, plus I can access both accounts on my Apple TV which is connected to my main sound system. I use my Apple Music ID with the Music app and my main ID to access my main library through Home Sharing. Very easy to switch back and forth.

    The bad news: I can’t use family sharing for apps, etc. with my main Apple ID (where I purchased all my apps), plus the complexity of having to use two mobile devices for complete mobile access. I seldom use Apple Music on the iPod Touch since I usually just have my iPhone (but is an option if I really want it).

    I’d say your conclusion is correct, but this works for me. I’m not sure if I’d ever trust combining iTunes Match and Apple Music on my library again.

  3. My solution is to use Apple Music on my laptop and my iPod touch and iPad. My iMac and iPhone have my library. So I can easily stream when I’m at home, even using Airfoil to stream from the iPad or iPod to my Mac, using it as an AirPlay receiver. The idea of signing in and out just irks me.

  4. My solution is to use Apple Music on my laptop and my iPod touch and iPad. My iMac and iPhone have my library. So I can easily stream when I’m at home, even using Airfoil to stream from the iPad or iPod to my Mac, using it as an AirPlay receiver. The idea of signing in and out just irks me.

  5. I initially tried the second Apple ID method, but I now I only have Apple Music on my iPad. My iCloud Music Library is separate from my iTunes library and I plan on keeping it that way.

  6. I initially tried the second Apple ID method, but I now I only have Apple Music on my iPad. My iCloud Music Library is separate from my iTunes library and I plan on keeping it that way.

  7. If you want to keep your “rented” streaming collection separate from your “owned” personal collection, another option is simply to subscribe to a non-apple streaming service like Spotify.

    Based on my experience with mainly classical listening, Spotify has more or less the same catalog as Apple Music (there some deviations, but not all in favor of one service), and might even have a slight edge. Moreover, Spotify’s streaming performance is significantly more responsive.

    I was excited for Apple Music because I loved the idea of combining my “rented” and “owned” library, but even when Apple ironed out the wrinkles, it wasn’t all I had dreamed it would be. I never got rid of the Spotify account, and now I use it more than ever.

  8. If you want to keep your “rented” streaming collection separate from your “owned” personal collection, another option is simply to subscribe to a non-apple streaming service like Spotify.

    Based on my experience with mainly classical listening, Spotify has more or less the same catalog as Apple Music (there some deviations, but not all in favor of one service), and might even have a slight edge. Moreover, Spotify’s streaming performance is significantly more responsive.

    I was excited for Apple Music because I loved the idea of combining my “rented” and “owned” library, but even when Apple ironed out the wrinkles, it wasn’t all I had dreamed it would be. I never got rid of the Spotify account, and now I use it more than ever.

  9. I have 110.000 tracks (bought tracks, ripped CD’s and from Apple Music.) I have different Playlists but the One i’m using most “hits” contains 40.000. My problem is that around 30.000 tracks of the 110.000 Will not upload to icloud (waiting or not available). Could this be solved by having two icloud librarys? (two Apple ids).One I Can use for eg. “hits”and other Playlists which i use frequently, and another icloud library I Can use for All other genres? I guess it wont help by adding a New iTunes library as you wrote it’s using the same icloud library?

        • Have you tried removing the tracks, letting the library sync, then re-adding them? I have a number of tracks that have been “Waiting” for months…

          • No I haven’t tried that yet, but i guess when my library is over 110.000 tracks and still growing each day the problem will still appear, as maximum is 100.000 tracks

  10. I have 110.000 tracks (bought tracks, ripped CD’s and from Apple Music.) I have different Playlists but the One i’m using most “hits” contains 40.000. My problem is that around 30.000 tracks of the 110.000 Will not upload to icloud (waiting or not available). Could this be solved by having two icloud librarys? (two Apple ids).One I Can use for eg. “hits”and other Playlists which i use frequently, and another icloud library I Can use for All other genres? I guess it wont help by adding a New iTunes library as you wrote it’s using the same icloud library?

        • Have you tried removing the tracks, letting the library sync, then re-adding them? I have a number of tracks that have been “Waiting” for months…

          • No I haven’t tried that yet, but i guess when my library is over 110.000 tracks and still growing each day the problem will still appear, as maximum is 100.000 tracks

  11. The errors showing now is:
    “Genius results can’t be updated right now. Unknown error(4001)” or “Genius reults can’t be updated right now. There is not enough memory available”. They appear when i turn on icloud library. I want to have the possibility not only to stream form Apple music but also to add music to my library.

  12. The errors showing now is:
    “Genius results can’t be updated right now. Unknown error(4001)” or “Genius reults can’t be updated right now. There is not enough memory available”. They appear when i turn on icloud library. I want to have the possibility not only to stream form Apple music but also to add music to my library.

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